A message to the working class in the wake of the 2016 United States Presidential election from the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World
Submitted on Tue, 11/22/2016 - 2:41pm
Official Statement - IWW General Executive Board, November 22, 2016
These are difficult times for the working class, times of struggle and hardship. The employing class controls more of the world’s wealth and power than ever before, and the divide between working people and our oppressors grows wider by the day.
It is important to remember that this is nothing new. The ruling class has been waging a war against the working class since the birth of capitalism. We, the workers of the world, continue to be exploited and abused, the value of our labor always falling into the boss’ pockets. While they rake in unprecedented profits, the employing class continues to damage our planet through the unsustainable and irresponsible extraction of natural resources. These vultures tell you that your disappointments, your failures, and your hardships are the fault of other working class people. People of different races, genders, nationalities, and religions. “Blame immigrants,” they say. “Blame blacks and Latinos,” they say. As we fight amongst ourselves, the ruling class celebrates in their gilded halls, making toasts to the disunity of the working class.
Many people in the working class sought out hope in the electoral system this year, confident that reason and compassion would hold the day. Many other people in the working class were motivated by bigotry. The electoral system is designed to disenfranchise all working people, to take their hopes and desires as mere suggestions rather than as concrete demands. Unions, which are supposed to fight for all working people, organized people to put their faith in fighting bigotry at the ballot box - and now they say they are “ready to work with” the representatives of bigotry and division.You are no doubt feeling disillusioned, fearful, and angry, and are ready to consider different ways of fighting back against our oppressors.
We, the Industrial Workers of the World, invite you to work with us in building a new kind of labor movement, one that refuses to play by the rules of the employing class. An approach where we no longer allow them to divide us along artificial lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion. From housewives to factory workers to prisoners to office workers, we are all the working class, and it is our labor that creates all wealth. We can challenge the ruling class if we unite with each other, but that unity must start with defending the most oppressed and vulnerable groups among us first, for “an injury to one is an injury to all.” It is clear that there is a strong current of bigotry within the US working class, and we pledge to confront that head on in our organizing. We believe we can win workers away from bigotry if we show that we have a plan to win a better world. We must work towards the creation of a new world in the shell of the old, and the only way to do that is through organizing in our workplaces and in our communities.
The Industrial Workers of the World have been organizing working people for over 110 years, and our future as a revolutionary union is bright. Our approach is one of direct action. Instead of relying on elected officials and other intermediaries, we take the fight directly to our oppressors. We have been trailblazers in the modern labor movement, organizing fast food workers in Oregon, package handlers in Minnesota, entertainers and restaurant workers in New York, and prison laborers throughout the country, to name just a few. Our members have been at the forefront of resistance to police violence and the Dakota access pipeline. We have been working tirelessly to build a genuine and truly representative working class organization that can provide strength to working people, and we need your help.
If you have questions about exactly who we are and what we do, let's talk. If you're ready to organize and resist, join us and we will welcome you as fellow workers and fellow members of the working class. It is time to organize, it is time to fight back. Let's make white supremacists, fascists, and other hate mongers fear our power. Our struggle will be long and it will be difficult, but we will win. Sign up for the One Big Union today, and let’s organize together in our workplaces and communities. Nothing is too good for the working class, and we want all the good things life has to offer.